DENVER (CBS4) – The Baltimore Ravens are hoisting the Lombardi Trophy this year, and if the Broncos want to be doing the same thing next year former Bronco and occasional CBS4 Sports commentator Tom Nalen said he thinks they have some issues to address.
1. The Offensive Line
The offensive line is the most glaring area of concern for a team that appeared to have few weaknesses during the regular season last year.
“Ryan Clady is having shoulder surgery. J.D. Walton is having ankle surgery. Chris Kuper is having ankle surgery again to fix a plate. If those guys are healthy I think they’re fine. I thought Walton played very well before he got hurt as opposed to his first two years I thought he struggled a little bit. He looked a lot better this year,” Nalen said. “But they do need some depth in case those guys can’t come back.”
2. Defensive Line
Nalen said he thinks the Broncos are in good shape with their tackles, although he says they could use more depth at that position.
Nalen said middle linebacker could be the biggest area of need for the team. He also said it may be time to say goodbye to D.J. Williams.
“I think for both parties it would be better for D.J. not to be here. I just think that a fresh start for him would be good,” said Nalen of Williams, who missed more than half the season due to suspensions. “Maybe they could get a decent draft pick in return for him. I think that would probably be the best way to go.”
“He wants to play ‘Will’ linebacker, and he’s a great linebacker — he plays all positions. But he’s a great Will linebacker.”
“I was a teammate of D.J.’s. I loved D.J. D.J.’s great in the locker room. I just don’t see Wesley Woodyard giving up that spot.”
The Broncos best player could also perhaps be the team’s biggest question mark, according to Nalen.
Manning came in second in the voting over the weekend for the MVP of the league award, but his overwhelming regular season success once again didn’t translate to success in the playoffs. His team was one-and-done for the eighth time in his career.
“The regular season is great, but it doesn’t mean anything unless you do something in the playoffs with it. He had the same tag about him in college at Tennessee: ‘He couldn’t win the big one.’ The year after he left Tee Martin leads the team to the national championship.
“I realize (Manning) has won a Super Bowl, but he didn’t really play that well in that Super Bowl. It was kind of a rainy day against the Bears. And the next year he lost a Super Bowl where he threw a Pick-6 to the Saints. So I think there’s some concern there.”
“I think he puts so much pressure to be perfect all the time, and football is not a game of perfection. You have to roll with the mistakes, and overcome them and not let the pressure get to you. And I think that he puts so much pressure on himself that it affects him in the playoffs.”